Our Research

Just Like Us

Highlighted Findings

In 2018, Millions of Conversations (Millions) partnered with M&C Saatchi World Services to conduct qualitative and quantitative research about the most effective ways to reverse these polarizing trends with a particular focus on why a majority of Americans hold anti-Muslim bias. The study, “Just Like Us,” draws on evidence from focus groups in five states – California, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and Ohio. This research identified six of the dominant anti-Muslim narratives in today’s culture. A recurring theme was a belief that Muslims are “different from us” and “trying to destroy our way of life.” Structural anti-Muslim bias - found in our legal, cultural, and political institutions - reinforce these dangerous messages. Popular culture also conveys anti-Muslim messaging. To challenge these negative stereotypes, we traveled the country, conducting focus groups in which we asked participants to describe their American values and their vision of the Model American Citizen.

Today, fear is fostered when we view people as different, not like us, and by labeling them as the “other.” “Othering” can cultivate a perceived threat to the American way of life. This fear silences our values of respect, religious liberties, and free speech. When we ask ourselves: How can we change this status quo? How can we reverse the tide of fear, hate, violence and exclusion? We support a thriving, inclusive democracy where people are humanized and narratives that counter toxic rhetoric become the norm.

American Values

Understanding a Shared Future

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Hard work, family, freedom, community, and honesty were the American values identified as most important and most aligned between the Muslim-American community and participants’ beliefs. This gives us hope at Millions of Conversations as by focusing on these commonly shared values, we can work towards building a future where we all belong.